Theatre

Review: Kicking A Dead Horse

By John Nathan, September 19, 2008

Almeida Theatre, London N1

It all went wrong for Hobart Struther after he became a successful art dealer. And now here he is stranded in the middle of the desert, his "quest to find authenticity" on hold while he digs a grave for his "deader than dirt" horse who snuffed it after his oats went down the wrong way.

It seems that writer and director Sam Shepard - that chronicler of dysfunctional Midwestern America, who like Hobart is in his mid-sixties - is taking stock.

More..

Review: Now Or Later

By John Nathan, September 19, 2008

Royal Court, London SW1
 

Election night in America. The Democrats are getting closer to victory. With only a couple of months to go before the real thing, this is the Royal Court's attempt at relevant theatre.

And although the Democrat candidate here is white and much more like Bill Clinton than Barack Obama, this tense drama by American writer Christopher Shinn is very relevant indeed.

More..

From banking to dancing

By David Lasserson, September 19, 2008

Karen Ruimy gave up a career in finance to become a dancer. Now she is bringing her own show to the West End.

Karen Ruimy is an unlikely leading lady for a West End dance show. For one thing, most of her adult life has been spent doing something else. "I studied finance! I have an MBA from a great French business school. I went into banking and I loved it!" Outside the Lyric Theatre in the heart of London's theatreland are pictures of Ruimy in full flamenco regalia, striking passionate, hot-blooded poses. Is this the same woman?

More..

Twelfth Night

By John Nathan, September 12, 2008

Tricycle Theatre, London NW6

You could be forgiven for thinking you have walked into the wrong theatre. An electric double bass dominates the stage. To its left is a set of drums, to its right a bank of synthesizer keyboards. Not exactly the traditional stage design for a production of one of Shakespeare's best-loved comedies. But then the Filter company's 80-minute version of a play that normally takes almost three hours is not exactly traditional.

More..

Turandot

By John Nathan, September 12, 2008

Hampstead Theatre, London NW3

More..

Eurobeat

By John Nathan, September 12, 2008

Novello Theatre, London WC2

There is no accounting for taste. Not only has this trashy Eurovision song contest show become a touring hit, but, on the night I saw it, Poland, easily the best act, came fourth. Eurovision Song Contest addicts are used to the whiff of corruption and scandal, but the sheer injustice of Toomas Jerker & the Hard Pole Dancers failing to win the worst music competition on earth is an affront to democracy.

More..

Hedda

By John Nathan, September 4, 2008

Gate Theatre, London W11
✩✩✩

Writer Lucy Kirkwood has updated Ibsen's 1890 classic to now, moved it from Oslo to London and set it in a trendily dilapidated flat.

On paper this is a clever transition. Ibsen's calculating heroine is now a member of the rich, smug West Londoner set who think that they are living an inner-city life by comfortably slumming it somewhere hugely expensive off the Portobello Road.

More..

Review: Fragments

By John Nathan, September 4, 2008

Young Vic, London SE1

If it is laughter you are after, then hurry down to the Young Vic which is staging five short sketches by a very funny comedy writer called Samuel Beckett.

In one of the pieces, two men who each live in a bag are prodded awake by a giant pointy stick that descends from the sky. One of them is incurably grumpy; the other finds boundless joy in every menial task. It is hilarious.

More..

Joan Rivers: A Work In Progress By A Life In Progress

By John Nathan, September 4, 2008


Leicester Square Theatre, London WC2

You have got to have a particular brand of chutzpah to get your revenge on someone by falsely accusing them of antisemitism and then celebrating the fact by dancing the horah while singing Hava Nagilah - on stage - in front of people, some of them gentiles.

More..

A bitter flavour of ice-cream

By John Nathan, September 4, 2008

Three new plays over as many months will soon be looking at the Middle East conflict from very different perspectives.

In September, London's Arcola Theatre will host Welcome To Ramallah, by Sonja Linden and Adah Kay, about a Jewish woman who visits her sister's home in the city.

In October, Birmingham Rep will be the first port of call in a touring production of At the Gates of Gaza by Juliet Gilkes Romero, which looks at the territory from the point of view of West Indian soldiers fighting for the British Empire during the Great War.

More..